Logistics firms are leaving themselves vulnerable to ever more sophisticated cyber-attacks involving artificial intelligence, but they can fight back by also relying on AI systems, according to a tech expert.

Scott Brooks, technical strategist at IT solutions provider Cheeky Munkey, said freight haulage firms had a “huge digital footprint” and relied on a significant amount of information sharing and data processing, so they were seen as a prime target for cyber-attacks.

He cited research that revealed 72% of companies in the sector had suffered supply chain disruptions as a result of criminals exploiting their systems.

He said less skilled hackers could now rely on AI to write scripts they otherwise wouldn’t have the knowledge to do themselves, in order to steal files.

And he added that criminals could also use machine learning to test the success of malware they develop and then tweak it to make it even more formidable.

Brooks said there was a skills gap within the cyber-security industry, with not enough people possessing the skills and knowledge required to develop and implement AI security systems – and it was a costly strategy for smaller companies.

But he also said AI could be harnessed to battle against emerging threats: “The rise of AI is understandably a cause of concern for business owners and employees alike,” Brooks said.

“Improved cyber threat capabilities mean that logistics companies need to be prepared for changing attacks.

“However, it’s clear that adapting AI systems is the best way for businesses to improve their own cybersecurity.

“By combining adept cybersecurity teams with artificial intelligence cybersecurity systems, logistics companies can stay ahead of new threats and improve the efficiency of their operations.”